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The Greatest Gift

“Nice to see you,” she said as if she knew I’d be coming.

“Yeah, nice to see you too. I know it’s been a while. I’ve been busy.”

“So how can I help,” she said, using her standard familiar phase for getting right to the point.

“Well,” I stammered, “The holidays are coming and I just can’t seem to get into it. It’s been a hard year and frankly, I am tired. I’m not sure I can get up for this,” I said.

“So, your holiday glow is gone…huh? ” she said mocking me.

“Don’t be trite,” I snapped back, “I think I’m depressed”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound trite. I just remember that this is the way you feel when you can’t figure things out and want everything to work like you think it ought to. ”

“I don’t know why I put up with you,” I retaliated.

“Yes you do,” she said smiling. “What exactly is giving you a problem?”

“I guess I don’t feel very joyful,” I said defeatedly.

“Maybe you are too busy looking at what you think isn’t right to see what is.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean? Have you seen what’s going on out there? Women are loosing ground, minorities are loosing ground, and spiritual people aren’t being heard at all The whole damn planet is dying and nothing seems to getting better. I’m not quantum leaping. I’m not even leap frogging any more. I hate it. Where’s the ecstasy? Where’s the safety? Nothing is satisfying! It’s all just hard!”

” Yep. So?”

“So, I thought as I got older, it would get easier. I want to lay back a bit. Cool out. Take it easy,” I said.

“So what is stopping you? Go take it easy.”

“God! Didn’t you hear a word I said? The world is falling apart and so is my life!”

“I heard you. The world is falling apart. Your life is falling apart and you are tired. In addition to that, I hear you taking it all personally. You know Don Juan once said the basic difference between an ordinary person and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as either a blessing or a curse. Feeling a little cursed are we?”

“Maybe,” I responded feeling busted.

“Well, what have you learned from all these challenges? What gifts have they brought you?”

“I have learned there’s a subtle difference between holding on and hanging in,” I said reflecting. “I had to let go so many times this year my hands are chapped. But you know it’s funny every time I did it, the thing I feared most would happen, didn’t. After a while it became easier to just accept that no matter how hard I try, bad things will still happen and I can endure them. Here I still sit, alive and well. I guess that means the terror is not out there, it’s in here,” I said pointing to my heart.

“I even learned how to take those moments of defeat with more grace,” I continued, “because in that moment of letting go, the grief of my child seemed to transform into the hope of an adult. In that sweet place of letting go, I found great release and relief. I think I also cured my spiritual arrogance of believing that you get to a certain place in your spiritual evolution and then you don’t have problems anymore. I guess you just deal with them differently.” I looked up and saw her expression, ” OK, OK, so I’m not quite finished with that one.”

“What else,” she asked, “as if that’s not quite enough for one year!”

“I think there’s a strange new awareness of the now,” I answered, trying to work it out in my mind. “It’s almost as if there is no point in planning for tomorrow because today is all that I can know for certain. Everything in my life is constantly changing. There can’t be any long-term goals anymore because I have no control on what is coming around the corner that may take me off one track and plunk me down on another. Life is an “E” ticket ride right now. I used to think life unfolded in some orderly manner. Not true. One minute I am swept back into dealing with some old childhood pain and in the next I am out dancing in the ethers with a client who professes not to believe in reincarnation but who, by the way, is having a conversation with the spirit of her dead grandmother. It’s a trip! All I can do is be present to each moment and hang on for the next.”

Without giving her time to interject, I admitted, ” I’ve actually learned a lot this year. I’ve learned that what I value most is ineffable. What I treasure most is not material. What I fear most is not a certainty. What I distance from, I create in another space. The only thing I have control over is my integrity. What I accept in life, I conquer. And, that which I judge is probably God in disguise as my teacher.”

I took a breath to hold the tears back and said, “Not such a bad year after all.”

Quietly she responded, “Many gifts for which to be grateful.”

I took a long slow breath. “I am also grateful for you ,” I told her as I got up to leave.

“You’re welcome,” she smiled knowingly. ” Have a great Holiday!”

I looked around my meditation room, wondering why it had taken me so long to go there. One of my greatest gifts was always there waiting patiently for me to remember her. “I’ll hang that exquisite crystal ornament on the tree in her honor,” I thought, feeling once again peaceful, as I blew out the candles and closed the door behind me. Merry Xmas to all and to all a great moment alone to remember how blessed we all are. With love to each of you from all of us at Arizona Together.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

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